This spring, Emilie Sauvayre ’20 studied abroad in the historic city of Renne, France. While trying to master the French language, Sauvayre also taught at a school, lived with a host family and played competitive soccer with the Cercle Paul Bert Foot Bréquigny.
Through the Colleges’ No. 1 study abroad program in the nation, Sauvayre enrolled in courses at the Université Rennes 2 taught entirely in French. Her courses included a French language intensive, French writing and listening comprehension, business, creative writing and teaching English as a Foreign Language. Sauvayre says her classes were full of French and international students, which created a dynamic and cross-cultural learning environment.
A member of the HWS Teacher Education Program, Sauvayre worked with the HWS Education Department and the Center for Global Education to land a teaching assistant position at a French elementary school. Each week, she taught a lesson on English expressions and vocabulary. She says the experience was invaluable in curriculum development, lesson planning and teaching to different levels in the classroom.
“Some students are stronger than others,” Sauvayre says. “One of my lessons was on animals of the house, such as dogs and cats. I asked them about their own pets, if they have them and then taught them to explain in English.” By building the lesson around animals, Sauvayre says she captured their interest as well as advanced their cognitive skills, such as comparing and contrasting.
In addition to the relationships she developed in the classroom with teachers, administrators and students, Sauvayre built ties to the Rennes community through her host family. “They introduced me to different parts of Rennes and things to do,” she says. “They also taught me the traditions of the Bretagne Region that would be difficult to learn without a family, such as Wednesday nights being Galette night (a thin buckwheat pancake).”
A member of the William Smith soccer team, Sauvayre joined Cercle Paul Bert Foot Bréquigny, a prominent travel soccer club. Competing across France, Sauvayre traveled and bonded with her teammates.
“Being a student-athlete helped me to regulate my time and organize it based on priorities,” she says. “Playing soccer also acted as a way to get a break from the regular grind of school work while competing and participating in something larger than myself.”